Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Wings 4, Hawks 1

Wings win 9th consecutive game; Legace hurt

Detroit matched a franchise record win-streak by notching their ninth straight last night at the Joe, 4-1 over Chicago. It was their third game in a row against the Blackhawks and it was evident that the Wings were a little tired of facing the same opponents. Their play was marked by sloppiness and their attempts at overly intricate passing were unsuccessful more often than not.

Manny Legace was injured by a falling Matthew Barnaby in the first period but skated gingerly off the ice and was replaced by Chris Osgood, who did a good job of covering for the injured Legace. Manny, we were told later in the broadcast, suffered a minor knee sprain on the play and is expected to be okay.

He had this to say in a phone conference with the media today:
"The knee is sore. I've got a sprained left knee, thanks to Mr. Matthew Barnaby.

"I will not play (Thursday) or probably the weekend. I'm day to day."

For those of you who missed the play, "Mr. Matthew Barnaby" is not so much at fault as is Jiri Fischer. Barnaby, while not known for being a clean player, can be cleared of this one, I believe, since he was taken down by the Wings' defenseman, whose stick-twisting antics nearly cost the Wings' their goaltender for a lot longer than the weekend. His injury could have been a lot worse. It's the second time the Wings have dodged a bullet with knee injuries this season (Lilja's encounter with the endboards 25. October in Columbus is the other instance).

All of Barnaby's weight came down on Manny's left knee, which was on the ice because he was down already. Legace immediately rolled over, threw off his gloves and grasped his knee. Meanwhile, Fischer turned, saw Manny's writhing and tore into Barnaby. They tussled for a while before Jiri's strength was gone and they were pulled apart.

The Wings' medical staff came out and checked Manny's leg while we all watched, thinking the worst. He was then helped off the ice as Osgood came on.

(UPDATE:) Jiri Fischer, needless to say, has a different perspective on the incident, as this mLive article indicates. I'd have to watch it again but I'm pretty sure Jiri's stickwork is what caused it and that Barnaby fell as a result, not maliciously.

That was the major event in the game and my notes weren't as detailed as usual so I'll just give a shortened version of our standard summary.

... Kirk Maltby scored once again, after taking another pass from Yzerman. This time the play began at center ice, with Draper, who passed the puck to Yzerman. The Captain took it over the line at the far boards and immediately sent a pass to Maltby, who was streaking up the middle, unchecked. His first shot from the slot hit beat Khabibulin but hit the post and bounced right back to him. Some players and most of the Joe thought it had gone in but Maltby had the presence of mind to take the rebound and score with it so the fans' cheers were just a little preemptive, not unwarranted.

... Manny's injury came immediately after the goal and it seemed like the excitement had hardly even died down before we were treated to the sight of our goalie in agony on the ice.

.... At about 4:00 of the second period, Robert Lang broke in on Khabibulin after taking a great pass at the blueline from Jamie Rivers, who was standing not far from Osgood in his own zone. Lang was hooked ever so slightly on the play and the ref gave him a penalty shot. I was pretty excited, given the rarity of this type of play (shootouts not withstanding -- we Wings fans haven't gotten one of those yet, thank the Lord) but it turned out to be highly anti-climatic.

Lang had the rarest of opportunities to score in all of hockey (a shoot-out shot is not a penalty shot!) but he completely squandered it by skating in on Khabibulin and taking a straight-up shot. No deke, no move, nothing. He tried to beat one of the best goalies in hockey using accuracy or quickness. I was real impressed. The chance he had that drew the penalty was more exciting than the penalty shot itself. (Update:) It was the seventh straight failed penalty shot for the Wings, dating back to Igor Larionov's successful attempt in November 1995. (mLive)

.... At 7:34 of the second, Brett Lebda scored against his hometown team for the first time. He got himself down deep in the Chicago zone and took a pass from Lidstrom in the corner. He sent the puck towards the net and couldn't have expected to score but he did anyway. It went in between Khabibulin's right leg and the right post, sort of a Shanny-esque goal that surprised everyone. It was a power play goal, too, by the way.

... At 15:10, Shanahan made it 3-0 after taking a drop pass from Lang on a rush. He made a little sidestep and then ripped a shot from between the circles but closer to the blueline. He got a great release on the shot and was very accurate but Khabibulin should have stopped it. He just got beat.

... Three minutes later, Adrian Aucoin scored for the Hawks to make it 3-1 and give them some hope. It was a good shot from the point that Osgood may not have even seen. Can't really hold him to blame for that one. OLN didn't show any decent replay of the shot so I don't know if it was tipped or not but it may have been.

... Jason Williams closed out the scoring for the night at 11:40 of the third period. Khabibulin should have had this one as well. It was on the power play and he had to have seen it the whole way but Williams' blast from the point blew past him and made it 4-1.

... The Wings ended up 2-for-8 on the power play for the night.

... Mathieu Schneider sat out with a groin injury. His spot was filled by Jamie Rivers, who played well. He is listed as day-to-day.

... Shots were 25-16 Chicago, which doesn't surprise me at all. The Wings did not look all that great and were just sloppy in general. It's a good thing they were only playing Chicago or else they probably would not have come out on top. Hopefully they'll whip things into shape in time for their game versus Edmonton tomorrow night.


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